Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Neglectful? Bitchy? Judgemental? Yes, yes, and yes.

Today I decided to take Lauren to a place called Super Franks.  It's a place with big leather chairs and they serve Starbucks coffee.  The kids can play on all this awesome stuff and no matter where you are sitting you can see them so there is no need to actually have to do anything except sit and sip coffee and watch your little darling play.  Today, however, I took Lauren there after dropping the big kids off at school because I wanted to play with her.  Poor Lauren, the third child, who does nothing but what I do or what the big kids do.  She so rarely gets to do her own things.  The other two were enrolled in Music Together and tumble tots at this age.  Lauren goes to the gym and to Costco and to karate.  Those are her enrichment activities.  Anyway, I just wanted to play with her today in a new environment so we headed out 45 minutes away in the rain to this fabulous place.

It was crowded with... well, I don't really want to say it 'cause I'm afraid you'll think I'm terribly judgemental and bitchy and honestly, in most situations I'm not but I realized today that in these kinds of situations I totally am.  I don't tolerate (what I consider to be) bullshit very well.  It was crowded with ridiculously competitive stay-at-home moms whose kids had obnoxious names and not an inch to breathe away from their helicopter mommies.

Backing up a bit... 

I talk all day to Lauren.  I am beginning to think that one of the reasons she is a bit speech delayed and isn't speaking back to me in phrases is because she's afraid if she actually does, that I will talk to her even more.  And since she and I spend so much time alone together I am trying to be quiet a little more often and let her discover some things on her own.  This was true even today.  We played together for a little bit and then I sat down and just let her play on her own.  She's very much like Drew in that she'll approach a group of kids and just stand and watch them.  She smiles when they smile, she'll laugh when they laugh, but she doesn't want to get involved, she just observes and is happy to do so.  She fell off a 6 inch high thing and I let her lay there and look at me and figure out what she should do next.  Should she cry or smile back at me and get up?  She figured it out and I never once even almost got up to help her.  She was never injured or scared.  She was fine.  I left her alone and she had a grand time playing for a very long time.  I also figured if she wanted something to drink she'd let me know.  She's two, she lets her needs be known pretty well.

These other moms who were there - good Lord.  It was like a social experiment and I had a front row seat.  Maybe because of my Sociology background I found it uber fascinating but I think really it just came from my judgemental bitchy side.  If I wouldn't have seemed creepy I would have taken pictures of it all. 

Here's an example:

Helicopter mom:  "Are you having fun, honey?"
Obnoxiously named kid:  * * *
HM:  "Are you thirsty, honey?  I have some juice for you!"
ONK:  * * *
HM:  "Do you want me to take your shoes off for you?  Some of the other kids have their shoes off."
ONK: * * *

It went on and on and on and on.  The kid ignored his mom completely and she hovered over him like there were insects around that would have swarmed him otherwise.  All she did was talk to him and question him and offer him things and he never once answered her or paid attention to her. 

Another kid tripped and fell - over his own feet I might add - and the mom bolted out of her chair like it was on fire.  She picked him up and hugged him and swayed with him while the two friends of the mom came over to make sure he wasn't bleeding or hurt.  It was cah-razy.  One mom even went to get an ice pack.  The kid fell to the ground from his own feet, not from a 10 foot ladder.  He wasn't even crying.  The competitive, over-attentive nature of the moms was comical, but at the same time it's a little worrisome.  They are creating kids who are going to be the wussiest kids ever.  And not only that, these kids will expect things to literally but at their heels when they want it.

So, as I sit there seemingly ignoring my child by comparison and thinking these women are comical, sad, and give the rest of us stay-at-home moms a bad name, I realized what a bitch I am.  Not only can I not imagine creating monsters that those kids will more than likely become, but I can't imagine expending that much unneccesary energy on my children.  I suppose when you feel like you have compete and be The Best and The Most Attentive and The Most Concerned it's exhausting.  And even though those women probably thought I was The One Who Neglects Her Children, I can confidently say that I'm not exhausted and my kids will fall and cry while I look on sometimes.  Why?  'Cause I'm a bitch, I guess. 


  1. Besides the uber competitive mom, sounds like that place might be attracting first time moms who always seem to overreact to their baby's every whim. It's very annoying. You are right in hating them.

  2. I've been on both ends, Ashley. I was one of those helicopter moms (and still continually learning to let go). I'm happy to say I'm not so much so now. I guess after having the 3rd one, I'm finally learning :). I think I used to do that for the people around me. I kept thinking "what will they think if I just let Joelle fall?...or if I let Jaden lay on top of his brother while he was crying and just talk him through getting off instead of pulling him away?" I always feel the eyes on me and felt like I had to be the "perfect" mom. Boy, was I wrong. It was to avoid the judgment of what other people will say. The judgment of being a bad mom or a bad wife. It kills me. And I'm finally learning to let go of that. I know I'm not either. And I can breathe so much better and be more comfortable with how we parent. Like Jason said, maybe 1st time moms? I think what you know is learned from experience :).

  3. I was a total helicopter mom with Morgan, but with Mikayla, complete opposite. With Mikayla joining the family, it has actually helped me to learn to let Morgan find her own way. It was less about being competitive with the other moms in someway, and more about me not wanting the other kids picking on her. I've realized that she is going to get picked on and that I won't always be there, so we just have to try our best as parents to prepare them for the big bad world by letting them deal with falls and bullies and everything else out there on their own. Not to say that I won't still step in if it gets too far, b/c goodness knows I will. Just like people will pick on her, people will judge me for the way I parent no matter what I do, so I'll just do it my way and not worry about anyone's opinion but my family's.

  4. Have you seen me with my kids? I don't think I ever had the weird need to be all up in their faces when they were wee ones. AS a matter of fact, a few weeks ago we got on BART and I had them sit in front of me and said, "pretend like I'm not here." Helicopter moms are like that to make *themselves* look good. "Look at my daughter Seraphina! She is 64 & 1/2 weeks old. And she still can't chew her on bananas because I chew them for her." So exhausting. And this is why I left mom's group. Sigh.


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